Stevenage schools promised government building funds as Hitchin Boys’ celebrates GCSE praise

The John Henry Newman School in Stevenage had good news on two fronts this week.

The John Henry Newman School in Stevenage had good news on two fronts this week. - Credit: Archant

Headteachers at two Stevenage schools say they are delighted after being singled out this week for government funding to renovate or rebuild department buildings.

Barclay and John Henry Newman are among 277 schools across the country which have been chosen for the second phase of the Priority School Building Programme.

The exact amount of cash coming to the two schools is yet to be worked out but the Department for Education has also allocated £24.8 million for further school building renovations across Herts.

The work at Barclay in Walkern Road will involve either a refurbishment or rebuild of the six form and drama blocks, although it is not yet clear what form the renovation will take.

Head Debbie Upton said: “We’re delighted with the news that we have been chosen. We’re really looking forward to seeing the plans finalised.”

JHN head Clive Mathew envisages the total cost of the works at the school in Hitchin Road will top £1m.

Windows dating back to the 1960s are expected to be replaced on the main block, as well as in the English, geography and art departments.

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The outside of the English and geography blocks will also be getting a facelift, while the art department will have a new roof installed.

“It’s excellent news for the school,” said Mr Mathew.

“Given we’ve already got a £3.7m performing arts block being built, it’s been a very productive time in regenerating the school.

“We’re very pleased with the government funding which will make sure the school is fit for purpose.”

The news comes as JHN received a letter from schools minister David Laws praising staff and students for their GCSE results, which were in the top 90 of non-selective state funded schools in England for five or more grades at A*-C including English and maths.

Hitchin Boys’ School was also congratulated by the MP for being in the top 100.

Headteacher Martin Brown said: “I was again delighted to receive a letter from David Laws, which is a welcome acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment demonstrated by the whole HBS community.”

Last week’s Comet carried a full list of GCSE performance figures for all secondary schools in the North Herts area.

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